For MLB aficionados, the studs have been back on the mound for a few weeks now. And with this return of one of America’s most popular sports rhymes with the release of the latest iteration of the San Diego Studio franchise: MLB The Show.
With this opus numbered 21, the series not only takes its first steps on a new generation, but also tries out the cross-platform with its releases on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox one and Xbox Series X. A laudable attempt which does not fail to please players around the world. But, of course, the success of a game cannot be based solely on these kinds of additions. This is why we are going to push our analysis a little further.
Test condition: We tested MLB The Show 21 on PlayStation 5. Our journey took us to Road to the Show, Diamond Dynasty, and other game modes, not to mention the stadium editor, just that!
In the heart of baseball, the real one
If there is one thing the series MLB The Show has always accustomed us, it is its graphic quality. Once again, this is an aspect that is at the rendezvous. On PlayStation 5, players and stadiums are more realistic than ever. Obviously, we are far from perfect but the improvements are notable, in particular thanks to the animations of the players, always so qualitative. For this release, San Diego Studio has even taken the trouble to add more than a hundred new animations, as well as various graphic improvements, in particular at the level of the play of shadows and lights.
But a sports game such as MLB The Show, it is also known for the difficulties inherent in the sport represented. With baseball, the task can be difficult since the rules and styles of play are not known to everyone. And this is where San Diego Studio makes a slight mistake. Indeed, no tutorial explaining the rules is present in the title, which almost instantly excludes neophytes of this sport from the game. If some tutorials related to the different styles of gameplay are available at the start of the game, nothing related to the sport itself is offered.
Gameplay level therefore, tutorials for all phases of the game are available. Thus, we find pitching, batting, basic flight, field play, etc. These tutorials are done via a match immersion, where the player has several tries in order to become familiar with the different actions to be performed. Nothing revolutionary, but it does the job, especially when you know that the game offers several configurations for each type of gameplay.
Indeed, the player has, each time, the possibility of choosing between casual, simulation and competitive. The first is the gameplay style for newcomers, offering more arcade-focused gameplay. Simulation, on the other hand, increases the difficulty and is based on the scores of each player and each team. Finally, competitive brings the difficulty to its maximum by focusing the action on the skills of the player rather than the rest. It is also this third style of gameplay which is the one used for the online mode.
In addition, San Diego Studio has set out to please its fans for this new opus, in particular by adding a brand new pitching interface. It had been a while since that happened, but this is fixed with Pinpoint Pitching. Very difficult to learn, this new style of pitching asks you, after having selected your type of pitch as well as the desired zone, to draw a certain curve with the right joystick, curve depending directly on the type of pitching selected. This is a great addition that everyone should try out. But let’s be honest, it’s so penalizing and difficult to master that for my part, I stuck to the old styles offered.
New and known
Side game modes, there is of course the much appreciated Road to the Show. Already very popular in the days of MLB The Show 19 and MLB The Show 20, this game mode has benefited from further improvements in this new opus. For those who do not know, Road to the Show is the game mode offering to follow a player created throughout his career. A bit like Towards a Legend of FIFA what.
But things have changed. Indeed, more passage through the exhibition matches before the draft. No, the player enters the scenario at the time of the draft. Right before the draft, your character receives a call, in which they are asked a series of questions to see which team you would like to make. These answers will, therefore, influence the position to which your player will evolve, as well as the team that will want him.
And if there is one point on which we can not say anything, it is the immersive side of this mode. MLB The Show 21 comes with the addition of videos taken by reporters like Robert Flores and other very “real” elements that are added throughout the adventure. Another interesting addition is the possibility of playing pitcher, while at times occupying another position on the field. Thus, my character occupies not only the position of pitcher, but also that of shortstop. But, of course, you will have to improve your character in both positions, which is not necessarily obvious if you are new to the MLB adventure.
But, as a whole, MLB The Show 21 also happens, and above all, with the possibility of creating stadiums. On the menu, 30 basic stadiums to customize according to your desires. Or, you can also start from scratch with a stage to create completely. Offered with a lot of components, this editor will delight lovers of creation as the possibilities are multiple. And, if you’re proud of your work or like a friend’s work, you should know that stadiums from other publishers are available for download. Enough to open many doors for creativity and immersion.
Obviously, what would an MLB game be without its Diamond Dynasty mode? This mode always keeps the same face: you build your baseball team on the basis of cards that you get through packs. These packs can be purchased with in-game money or with real money. There is not much to say about this mode since it has not received that many improvements. A nice novelty is, however, to be able to import your player from Road to the Show mode. Thing to know, what you do in this mode will have repercussions on the skills of your imported player, which will make him more interesting to integrate into your team!